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Nova Scotian sailors take on RORC Transatlantic Race
RORC Transatlantic Race 2016 © RORC Transatlantic Race

Scotian sailors on RORC Transatlantic Race

Chris Stanmore-Major, based in Nova Scotia will skipper the Volvo 60 yacht called Challenger, along with 15 ocean racing yachts from many countries, in the RORC Transatlantic Race starting on Saturday 26th November from Lanzarote.

Spartan Ocean Racing is based in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia and three Canadian crew will be on board (Diane Reid, Keith Davidson and Daniel Gaw) for the prestigious race organised by UK-based Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

Spartan Ocean Racing gives people the opportunity to sail on one of their fleet of 60ft, race boats in some of the world’s most esteemed regattas and on a number of ‘bucket list’ ocean crossing voyages.

They will be in good hands as their skipper has sailed over 250,000 nm (the distance to the moon) in yachts ranging from 45ft to 150ft and this mileage includes two round the world races; once as the skipper of an amateur crew on board Qingdao, the Chinese entry in the 2009/10 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and one solo in the 2010/11 Velux 5 Oceans Race.

About the race

Bound for Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 2,865 nm across the Atlantic, the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has once again attracted a varied fleet, from MOD70s, Super Maxis, four Class40s and everything in between from 40-112ft (12.19-34.14m).

Veteran professional sailors will race on the same course as first time Corinthians; all making tricky tactical decisions to ensure the fastest crossing and keep the momentum going on this long, intense race. The race is a competitive adventure and on the bucket list of many sailors.

About the crew

Stanmore-Major expects Challenger to complete the race in about 16 days. His crew includes a mix of professional permanent crew along with charter guests wishing to make the personal dream of racing across the Atlantic, a reality. However, Stanmore-Major believes that his guests will achieve much more than their original expectations:

‘About a third of our team for the RORC Transatlantic Race have sailed on the boat before. We have people at all different skill levels, from experienced sailors to doctors and young students who have scraped their money together to come and do their first transatlantic race,’ explains the skipper based in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotian sailors take on RORC Transatlantic Race

Several Canadian crew will be on board the Volvo 60, Challenger run by Spartan Ocean Racing based in in the third RORC Transatlantic Race. RORC Transatlantic Race

Our top priority for the race is that the crew need to be safe, both physically and also emotionally and when it is over, that they have a positive feeling from the experience. This is achieved by using the skill sets obtained through experience and education to make the right judgements.

‘The crew sign on for a Transatlantic Race, but it is more than just a journey on a boat. What they don’t realise is that they are going to have a personal voyage as well. The crew learn new sailing skills, but that is just the surface of the experience. When they get off the boat they will feel like they can do anything that they can walk into any kind of situation and it will never be harrowing. They have been through situations that build up those abilities and become much more able to cope with situations and come up with the right solutions.

‘The ocean has always been used as test ground for people to pit themselves and to learn about values such as teamwork and communication. In a big squall mid-Atlantic, you can learn more about problem solving than a whole year of running a company. The experience opens people up to new possibilities and puts goals in reach that they believe they are now able to achieve,’ concludes Stanmore-Major who runs spartanoceanracing.com based in Nova Scotia.

Canadian Crew background:

Diane Reid

Diane is a Royal Yachting Association Commercially Endorsed Oceanmaster and a Sail Canada Instructor for Cruising, Racing, VHF and Navigation. She has over 50,000 miles under her keel sailing far and wide including multiple transatlantic crossings and forays into the Southern Ocean.

Diane has taught sailing throughout the British Virgin Islands, the East coast of the United States and Lake Ontario, Canada and brings those skills to Spartan Ocean Racing’s training program in 2016. Her racing career includes single-handed, double handed and fully crewed campaigns all over the world in everything from 21′ Open Mini Class boats to 70′ Round the World Racers.

She most recently comes from skippering ‘ClipperTelemed+’ in the internationally renowned Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Keith Davidson

The Royal Military College (RMC) sail team is coached by veteran sailor and College Chief, Chief Petty Officer First Class, Keith Davidson who has significant offshore keelboat racing experience.

The RMC Competitive Sailing Team is comprised of 20 Naval and Officer Cadets who compete in the vibrant collegiate sailing scene in Canada. As a founding member of the Canadian Intercollegiate Sailing Association(CICSA) the sail team has strived to develop collegiate sailing within Canada. The team is one of RMCC’s competitive clubs and one of the oldest at RMC.

The sail team has represented not only RMC but Canadian Armed Forces sailors and Canada as a whole abroad. From hosting and competing in Canadian Collegiate National Regattas to fulfilling the role of Team Canada at the Annual Trofeo Accademia Navale in Livorno, Italy, the RMC sail team has proved itself to be a robust competitor in national and international sailing.

Daniel Gaw

Daniel Gaw is a 20 year old sailor from Halifax who joined the Canadian Ocean Racing Aspiring Offshore Athletes program while studying Nautical Science at the Marine Institute in Newfoundland. Daniel knew he had to become a part of Canadian Ocean Racing the moment he heard about it: ‘It is exactly what I had discussed with parents, coaches, friends and mentors; precisely what Canada and our young sailors need to help achieve their offshore sailing aspirations.’

Currently enrolled in the Nautical Science program at the Marine Institute in Newfoundland, Daniel is taking time off to sail. The Aspiring Offshore Athletes program allows Daniel to learn and apply advanced seamanship, navigation and watch-keeping – a perfect practicum for his degree.

Growing up sailing on the Halifax harbour, Daniel first got the bug for offshore racing during the 2009 Convoy Cup, a local overnight coastal race. Since then, he has been racing yachts up and down the East Coast, including a 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race class win and multiple deliveries.

Although a young sailor, Daniel has already logged nearly 10,000 nm. In the future, Daniel hopes to buy a Mini 6.50 and race it along the East Coast with a potential Trans-Atlantic campaign in the years to come.

‘If I was going to break into the shorthanded IMOCA community, this was my chance. The opportunity to not only log incredible miles with a rock-solid team on an IMOCA 60, but also to learn from a hugely experienced skipper in Eric and learning first-hand how to sail with a small crew was too good to ignore, and I seized the opportunity as soon as it appeared.’

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by Trish Jenkins

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